"Soil here favored cotton and the income from its sale enabled
most of us to pay school fees for our children and but our
hearts were broken when Rivatex collapsed," said Tomtom.
Unlike previous times when local residents used hoes to dig the
barren land to grow cotton, the government through Agricultural
Development Corporation (ADC) has provided powerful tractors to
help farmers plough enough land.
The announcement by the management of the textile
manufacturer that the plant has undergone a major facelift is
presenting new opportunities for cotton farmers such as
The plant managed by Moi University, has installation of
state-of-the-art machinery after the government secured some 50
million U.S. dollars in funding from the U.S.-based
The giant fabric producer had remained dormant for years
following the collapse of the textile industry in the country.
Moi University took over operations at the facility, which
has led to its transformation over the last two years.
According to Rivatex’s managing director Thomas Kipkurgat at
least 500,000 acres of cotton will be required to meet the
company’s cotton demands.
"The factory has the capacity to handle 40 tonnes of cotton
daily, but it is currently processing 12 tonnes and before it
was modernized, the factory was only processing two tonnes of
cotton daily," Kipkurgat told Xinhua.
The official disclosed that the plant is currently importing
cotton from neighboring Tanzania and Uganda.
"To meet increasing demand for cotton, Rivatex had signed
cotton-growing deals with 24 counties in the Rift Valley and
Eastern regions," said Kipkurgat.
"This would reduce the mill’s reliance on imported raw
material and result in lower operational costs," he added.
Kipkurgat encouraged local farmers to grow cotton on a large
scale because the market is readily available.
Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Baringo and Kitui are some of
the counties that the firm target to grow cotton to meet its
He said the management has supplied cotton seeds and
pesticides to the counties targeted in a bid to promote
production of the raw material.
The firm starts producing material for police uniforms.
"Apart from police fabric, we are also manufacturing fabrics for
military and hospital uniforms, as well as for making lesos,"
He said the company positioning to make clothes for members
of the public adding the plans will increase demand for cotton.
The plant is set to create jobs for more than 2,000 graduates
from nearby vocational and technical training institutes, he